This is a strong rebuttal of false teachers who scorn the promise of Christ’s return as the judge of humanity, and permit relaxed moral behaviour in their churches. Their future punishment contrasts with the reward of the kingdom for believers.
Matthew’s gospel is a carefully structured narrative that demonstrates Jesus’ fulfilment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecies. Through five main teaching discourses, Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of Heaven and teaches his disciples how to participate in it personally and corporately.
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Mark’s feisty narrative records the apostle Peter’s account of the impact of Jesus' life and ministry on his disciples, the crowds and the Jewish nation. Jesus calls his followers to deny themselves, carry their crosses and loyally follow him to death.
Luke, a Gentile, writes an ordered account of Jesus’ life and ministry for the Gentile world, with special focus on the message of salvation and issues of poverty, justice, prayer and the Holy Spirit within the general social revolution that the Kingdom of God brings.
Built around seven signs and “I am” statements, John plumbs the depths of Jesus’ identity and unity with the Father, into which the disciple is invited into fellowship through the power of the Spirit by believing, loving and obeying Jesus’ teaching.
Acts narrates the ‘critical path’ of the early growth of the Church throughout the Mediterranean. The Holy Spirit births, grows and establishes the Kingdom through the agency of first Peter and the apostles, and then the apostle Paul.
Paul writes a magisterial statement of the gospel to the Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Rome ahead of his forthcoming visit to them. Salvation, that is, right-standing before God, is now available to every person who believes in Christ.
After Paul had planted the church at Corinth, he heard that it was becoming worldly. In this letter, he brilliantly addresses the issues of gospel, sex, worship and resurrection in order to restore the church to a genuine Kingdom, Spirit-filled life.
In this complicated letter, Paul explains his decisions, defends his apostolic ministry to his detractors and exhorts the Corinthians to complete the collection promised for the church in Jerusalem. Finally, he gives a vociferous defence of his apostolic credentials ahead of his visit to them.
Paul strongly rebukes some Galatian Christians who have been persuaded to be circumcised and obey Torah Law. It is through faith in Christ that believers are justified, become God’s children are given the Spirit to overcome the sinful nature.
In pursuit of His overarching purpose to bring everything together in Christ God has united Jewish and non-Jewish believers in a new creation in Christ far above the spiritual powers of this world. The behaviour of believers must reflect this unity.
Paul writes from prison in Rome to his friends and partners in the gospel ministry in Philippi. Here is a beautiful insight into mature Christian living and ‘mature church’, at the centre of which is the humble and obedient sacrifice of Christ.
Paul writes to encourage and correct a new Christian community who are being misled by a teacher who denies Christ’s divinity and enforces harsh religious disciplines and laws about foods and festivals. In fact, all believers ever need is in Christ the Lord.
This is a study of the power of the Word and the Spirit as the gospel ministry created 'church' in Thessalonica. Paul’s love for this church is palpable as he writes to guide them forward in their first steps in discipleship.
Paul corrects new believers who are being deceived by false teaching that the ‘day of the Lord’ has already taken place. He encourages them to persevere, enduring persecution and assuring them that they will share in the glory of the Lord.
Paul commissions Timothy to silence some false teachers in Ephesus and bring order to God’s household by teaching sound doctrine and modelling godly living. He addresses issues of worship, church governance, the care of widows, elders, slaves and the use of wealth.
In this personal letter Paul commissions his successor Timothy and charges him to Preach the Word. The letter poignantly describes the ministry of teaching scripture and the lifestyle of suffering, disciplined endurance and pastoral skill needed to guard and propagate the gospel.
Paul commissions Titus to bring order to the new Christians in Crete by establishing godly governance and sound doctrine in the churches, and self-controlled upright living in the home, so believers devote themselves to doing good in the world.
In this exceptional letter, Paul confronts the evil of slavery and challenges his friend and co-worker Philemon to receive back his newly-converted runaway slave Onesimus, treat him as a dear brother and work through the full implications of their new relationship in Christ.
A ‘word of exhortation’ to Jewish Christians warning them not to give up their faith, because every aspect of Jesus and his new covenant is superior to the old covenant. Believers must persevere through trials towards the certain hope of our future.
Building directly on the teachings of Jesus, James roots his practical admonitions with concise exhortations, rebukes, vivid illustrations and rapid changes in topic and literary genre as he skilfully challenges apprentices of Jesus in the central issues of life discipleship.
Peter writes exhorting and teaching believers how to be faithful to Christ as they suffer persecution. He affirms their future, their status as royal priests, and through repeatedly reflecting on Christ’s example, teaches those most vulnerable how to endure, survive and overcome persecution.
In response to a schism in the Church, John articulates the features of the true life of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ: obeying his commands, active love for others and belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
John writes with exceptional pastoral skill to warn his churches about the danger of the christological heresy that denies Christ’s coming and promotes continuing engagement with 'the flesh'. Believers must love one another within the boundaries of Christ’s truth and should never support heretics.
An exceptionally crafted, loving, but firm exhortation to an isolated Christian who is being pressurised by a bullying church leader to give up his ministry of hospitality to the travelling church workers. To buckle under pressure would be to capitulate to evil.
This letter warns Christians about church leaders who teach that God’s grace through Christ means that believers are now free to live immoral lives. Jude then instructs believers how to help those who do fall, and how to avoid falling into immorality themselves.
Jesus’ defeat of evil at the cross is replicated and Christ’s victory extends throughout the world through the Church's patient endurance of persecution and faithful witness to Jesus as Lord, even to the point of martyrdom.
The story of how a family in slavery was dramatically birthed into a nation through God’s intervention and rescue at the Red Sea. Harsh slavery becomes willing covenant-based worship as God reveals his character and power.
Leviticus describes how the holy, infinite God came to live among his people. Leviticus’ radical and thrilling vision is that God makes this dangerous arrangement possible by inviting them into his holy presence in worship, thereby transforming them and their relationships with outsiders.
Numbers narrates the Israelites' 40 year journey from Sinai to the Jordan boarder of Canaan and their failure to enter the Promised Land because of fear, rebellion and disobedience. Although the adult generation died in the desert, their children were prepared there for entry.
Moses reminds Israel what God has done, and calls them to obey him with loyal love. God gives the nation laws to help them live under his blessing and warns them of the curses that will follow if they disobey.
The book of Joshua recounts how the nation of Israel crossed the river Jordan, entered the Promised Land and then took possession of some of the territory. They then divided the whole land between the tribes and swore allegiance to the Lord.
Material by Guest Scholar: DR. MARK ARNOLD
In the book of Judges, we see Israel doing what is evil in the eyes of Yahweh because they do what is right in their own eyes. Yet Yahweh continually has mercy on his people, sending a series of unlikely saviours.
Set in a rural community of common people and told from a woman’s perspective, this is a moving story of love, kindness and marriage where tragic lives are redeemed and a foreigner is brought into the royal Davidic messianic genealogy.
1 Samuel describes the transition from a theocracy of prophets to a monarchy, and how God prepared David to be king. God’s interaction with the heroes in these stories is a feast for every disciple seeking to live in Jesus’ Kingdom.
Chronicles re-tells Israel’s story in order to ignite Israel’s imagination for what life could become after the exile. For Chronicles, history teaches that Israel’s successes hinged on its ability to rally around the Temple in regular worship of the supreme God.
GUEST SCHOLAR - DR. MATT LYNCH
This poem celebrates the depth and passion of romantic love between a man and a woman as they cleave to each other and together become one flesh sexually. The poem explores what makes love and marriage mature, delightful and strong.
In the context of invasion by imperial powers, Isaiah prophesies that God will raise up an anointed servant-king (the Messiah) who will serve God’s purposes by establishing a work of redemption, salvation and a new covenant that will influence all nations.
Overwhelmed through his encounters with God, this priest and prophet agonises over God’s disobedient people. Ezekiel not only prophesies the fall of Jerusalem but “enters into death” with it before prophesying the new covenant of the Word and the Spirit.
In a series of dramatic visions, Daniel prophesies the coming of God’s Kingdom through the agency of the Son of Man. The book gives a penetrating insight into the prophetic lifestyle and spirituality of a man in high administrative office in Babylon.
A devastating locust swarm prompts Joel to exhort God’s people to recognise their spiritual bankruptcy and turn to God with sincere repentance. The Lord will then intervene with restoration, the renewing gift of his Spirit and justice for all nations.
Amos prophesies that because the northern kingdom of Israel brutally abuse the poor, God rejects their worship. Consequently, the longed for ‘Day of the Lord’ will ironically be a day of total destruction. This then actually happened in 722BC and 710BC.